Since the early 2000’s, the idea of Cloud-based computing has moved from concept, to buzzword, to trend, to near ubiquitous adoption. The convenience of being able to spin up server-side services rapidly makes it perfect for business sys-admins and developers alike. The scale of cloud computing is also perfect for organizations looking to scale globally. With a few clicks, a second instance of a company's whole platform can be spun up thousands of miles away.
Of course, nothing is free, and the same is true with cloud computing. This blog will look at some of the costs - hidden and known - associated with a pure cloud-only service, and demonstrate ways that the cloud-based MDM, Springmatic, allows for a hybrid-cloud design.
As previously mentioned, cloud-based services are wonderful to build on. Rather than building out servers, arranging for cross-regional rentals or Co-Lo plans, bringing up all of the infrastructure and managing software updates, everything can be deployed with just a few simple clicks.
Cloud computing is also a great way to test new software and infrastructure ideas because it is already available. No need for buying a server and talking to IP service providers for dedicated IPs, etc. Just spin up a VM or a container and test a new software build or service.
Cloud computing makes sense for easy bring up and secure operations with little to no physical maintenance. With careful planning and potentially as little as an hour, corporate services and applications can be deployed in a data center with full compliance for ISO and other industry standards. The cloud makes infrastructure and software deployments fast and easy.
Cloud isn’t perfect
With ease and convenience comes cost and compromise. It always has and always will. Cloud computing is no exception. When looking at cloud compute, billing happens down to the second which makes burst computing possible, but also makes 24/7 operations expensive. For EC2 workloads in AWS a basic 2 core, 4GB RAM instance will cost almost USD 20 per month.
Data storage is another area that can grow in expense fast. The more data you have, the more it costs, and it is a perpetual cost. 1 TB of S3 object storage in the general use tier is USD 23 per month – forever. A 2 TB hard drive on Amazon.com is around USD 50 which is a 1 time purchase with a warranty of 3~5 years. That would be around USD 1.39 per month for twice the capacity if used for 3 years - over 30 times less than hosting the data in the cloud.
Of course there is an enormous difference between cloud hosted data vs a simple hard drive. The data, once uploaded, can be accessed by any authorized system nearly anywhere in the world. However, that functionality gets charged too. Egress, a technical term describing all outbound data flows, is also billed at a rate of 0.09 GB/month in AWS - a rate even higher than the cost to store the data. This egress charge, though not the exact amount, is common among all cloud hosting providers.
Cost-aside, certain organizations may also have sensitive data, and there is very little that can be done to ensure cloud-based data is truly secure. Many data centers of cloud providers are actually outsourced, with access policies in place. Most of these data centers have extremely strict access policies, but any organization putting data in the cloud will never know who looks after the physical hardware. For most data, nothing is more secure than a data center, but for organizations that would have concerns, that risk is always there.
Leveraging the Edge
With so many advantages, yet so many compromises, can we tip the scales to favor the cloud even more? The answer is yes, and it involves leveraging your digital Edge.
A hybrid cloud involves leveraging a mix of locally available devices (on-prem) and cloud tools to get the best of both worlds. Certain services run in the data centers, while sensitive information, intensive processes or just large data sets reside in secure on-prem environments. The exact form this takes depends on the solution being architected and the desired goals to achieve. If, for example, the goal is security, perhaps the solution could be that web servers and hosts run in the cloud, while the files and data are on-prem with web server access controlled through a secure VPN. If the desire is to control costs, perhaps the cloud is only used during peak periods. Whatever the use case, hybrid cloud provides agility and options to organizations to be in better control of their data and their spend.
Springmatic Enables Hybrid Cloud
Springmatic’s Edge of Things SaaS platform seamlessly enables a hybrid cloud solution for organizations with large or sensitive data to remain in their desired host. Devices managed on the cloud-based platform are accessible from anywhere in the world. Account provisioning and control is instant with 0 CAPEX cost. Scaling up is linear, as the only cost to the organization is the management cost per device - no hidden costs or obscure terms and conditions.
At the same time, organizations can choose to have content that is on-prem managed and pushed to its fleet of devices. Applications and files that need to be sent to all the devices can be done from a cloud-hosted backend, an Internet reachable host, or even a host located on a LAN-only network. So long as the devices can reach the files from their internal network, Springmatic can help with the management and monitoring of the fleet status. Organizations can host their own file server, use their existing cloud storage provider, or both.
A cloud environment allows for quick and instant setup for organizations looking to start onboarding and managing a fleet of devices. By keeping data and files on-prem, security, latency, and bandwidth can be maximized without losing the convenience of a cloud-based management solution.